Teenage single-seater racer Menasheh Idafar concluded the 2008 Formula Renault BARC Championship season in style at Silverstone National Circuit this afternoon, Sunday, 5th October, by making a welcome return to the podium during round 12.
At the wheel of his Hillspeed run FR2000 Class car, the British-born Bahraini secured his fifth podium of the campaign with a fighting third place finish which, in turn, cemented fourth position in the final championship standings.
Menasheh was actually on course to finish runner-up to German driver Johannes Seidlitz in the second of today’s races but two corners from home he lost out to Brett Parris after a slight moment on entry to Luffield.
Nonetheless, the 17-year-old was delighted to be back on the podium after a run of bad luck in recent months. He said: “I’m very happy to have finished in third place. It’s a bit frustrating I couldn’t hold on to second but (Brett) Parris was quick through Luffield and I hadn’t been as fast there all weekend. It’s a great way to finish the season.”
Round 12 took place on a largely dry track, albeit with a few damp patches off the racing line. Lining up third on the grid after a good run in qualifying on Saturday, Menasheh got away quite well off the line but slipped to fourth on entry to Becketts.
Heading towards the complex for the first time, Menasheh then gladly accepted third place after Isa Yousif crashed out of the lead at Brooklands after running wide into the gravel trap on the outside of the corner.
By lap four, Menasheh was really starting to catch second placed Ross Curnow but he soon had to start thinking about defending as he came under pressure for third from a trio of cars. At Becketts on lap nine though, Curnow had a spin which allowed Menasheh to take second place.
Soaking up the pressure from behind very well during the closing stages, the Hillspeed driver looked set to hold on to second but Brett Parris pounced when Menasheh got slightly out of shape on a damp patch at Luffield two corners from home.
The first of the day’s races, round 11, started late after overnight rain and further bad weather throughout the morning had left the 1.64-mile National Circuit water-logged.
Lining up third on the grid when the race finally got underway in very wet conditions, Menasheh initially got away from the grid cleanly but as the cars filed through Copse for the first time, he had an unfortunate spin as he battled over third position.
Dropping him down the order to 15th place, the young racer had a big task on his hands to fight his way back into a points-paying position but this he managed with a determined performance. Moving into 11th by lap three, Menasheh was delayed on lap six at Luffield due to a backmarker spinning in front of him.
Forced to lose a couple of places as he rounded the errant car, Menasheh fought back into the top 12 by lap eight and then gained a further place on the next tour. Soon back inside the top 10, he grabbed ninth on lap 13 at Brooklands when Kazuki Hiramine ran into the gravel.
Over the course of the final lap, Menasheh did look well placed to mount a challenge on Kenny Andrews for eighth place but he was once again delayed by a backmarker at Luffield which cost him vital time and meant he would settle for ninth and a couple of championship points.
“It’s been a good season”, added Menasheh, “We wanted to finish in the top five and we managed to go one better than that in fourth place so I’m very happy. I’ve learned a lot this year and I’ve definitely improved as a driver thanks to the guys at Hillspeed.”